Elder: GOP Governor Accused of Racism Over 30-Second Ad, But There's a Big Problem


Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a white woman who is running for re-election against a white woman, stands accused of… racism.

The Iowa Democratic Party chairman, a black man, leveled the charge against her. Reynolds’ sin? She put out a political ad attacking her opponent for what Reynolds considers bad Democratic policies.

In response, Ross Wilburn tweeted, “We need to call this what it is: a cheap, racist and dangerous stunt using harmful stereotypes to score political points.”

Did Reynolds’ ad denounce her opponent as “a low-IQ individual,” as former President Donald Trump called black Rep. Maxine Waters, a put-down that CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin described as “racist”?

(Of course, it was not “racist” when Waters, a Cal State sociology major, questioned the intelligence of Dr. Ben Carson, a Yale and University of Michigan Medical School grad and the former head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and Trump’s choice for Housing and Urban Development secretary. About Carson, Waters said, “This guy just doesn’t have the background, the capability, the intelligence to do the job. He doesn’t know what he’s doing.”)

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No, Reynolds did not do that.

Did Reynolds, like Hillary Clinton, characterize half of her opponent’s supporters as “irredeemable” and consigned to a “basket of deplorables”? No, Reynolds said nothing of the sort.

Did Reynolds, as did President Joe Biden, denounce her opponent’s supporters as “extreme” adherents of “semi-fascism“? No, Reynolds’ ad did nothing of the sort.

Oh, by the way, how is Reynolds doing as governor? In a July Des Moines Register poll, Reynolds held a 17-point lead over her opponent. The libertarian Cato Institute grades governors based on their tax and spending record. In 2020 — the last year Cato issued a report card — Reynolds received an A, one of only four governors to score that high.

So what did the “racist” 30-second ad actually say and depict?

Well, it starts out with Rep. Cori Bush, who is black, saying, “Defunding the police has to happen.” Then it cuts to Reynolds, who says, “Watching the news, you wonder. Has the rest of the country lost its mind?”

Reynolds then says, “Attacks on police. Open borders. Paying people not to work. Aren’t you glad you live in Iowa?” The last 10 seconds shows Reynolds walking down a Main Street-like sidewalk and passing small business storefronts. She says, “Here we still have common sense. We kept businesses open and kids in school. We cut taxes and support our police. Because in Iowa, America still works.”

That’s it.

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No pickup truck dragging a black man chained to the bumper? No cross burning on the suburban lawn of a black Des Moines family? No fist-shaking mob of Aryan brothers waving the Confederate flag while marching in the middle of the street in a black neighborhood? C’mon, gov, raise your game!

I promptly challenged Wilburn via Twitter to a debate at a time and place of his choosing. I want him to enlighten me on exactly how and why a normal, sentient human being could deem this standard political ad “racist.”

So far, no response from the chairman.


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